Blog 9 Oct 17This week was all about prep work as I prepare for the first sitting of Tynwald next week.

The first job after getting into the office on Monday at 8.25am was to rearrange a couple of meetings as I needed to draft several letters and to prepare for the Public Accounts Committee meeting later on in the afternoon, along with preparing some additional questions.

Mid morning I had a meeting with two very well known Douglas restaurant and bar owners, who wanted to discuss entertainment in Douglas during the TT. I certainly feel that the entertainment in and around Douglas does need to be reviewed ahead of next year’s event, but restricted finances are a concern.

At lunchtime Tim Crookall, MLC and I had a working lunch with a good friend of mine who is also a Castletown Commissioner and is on the Southern 100 Committee. Back to the office briefly before heading down to the Millennium Room for the Public Accounts Committee meeting.

Just before 14.00 we went up to the LegCo Chambers for the Oral Evidence session with the DHSC Chief Executive, Malcolm Couch and the Minister, Kate Beecroft. The session lasted around three hours and we asked around 70 questions to the Minister and the CEO.

Hopefully it is the first of several sessions with the DHSC as the Committee continues to review the Department’s £10 million overspend.

Finally left the office at 17.40.

After tea I drafted a couple of e-mails and reviewed a business paper on a potential business plan for Sea Services for the Isle of Man after 2026, which was sent through by a member of the public – it is fair to say that is a fascinating report………….

I was happy to call it a day at 20.30.

In the office for 8.20am on Tuesday and the day was about clearing my in-box to enable me to focus my attention on next week’s Tynwald sitting. Unfortunately, the day didn’t start very well, as I ended up in a difficult argument with someone relating to a historic family services issue.

I am always happy to listen to anyone, but I don’t believe that someone should be used a verbal punchbag…… Hopefully, we can resolve the issues after Tynwald.

Mid morning I had a meeting with the gentleman who had sent through his business plan for future Sea Services. As I said previously, I felt it was an excellent report and it will be interesting to see where this report goes over the next nine years – it clearly has some merit…….

At lunchtime there were two presentations to Tynwald Members. The first briefing was on the Work Permit Consultation and the second presentation was on the new Road Traffic Legislation.

Back to the office mid afternoon, I then had an unexpected visitor from the Isle of Man Constabulary who just happened to be walking past the Tynwald Buildings. Last night I had sent an e-mail to the Isle of Man Constabulary with regard to a data request search undertaken by a Constituent who was left a little shocked by the information they received back.

I am extremely grateful to the member of the Isle of Man Constabulary for calling into my office and helping resolve the issue. Talk about a great service…….!

I also had several smaller meetings throughout the afternoon before heading home at 17.20. Once home, I continued to work through this month’s Tynwald Order Paper.

I spent the time reading through the Second Report of the Select Committee on the Functioning of Tynwald, which is a very interesting report and I am not entirely sure what we will end up with after the Tynwald sitting next week. In addition, DED have announced the new provider of TT and Festival of Motorcycle Home Stay, so I was also busy replying to numerous messages on Facebook and Twitter and I was extremely grateful to have the Head of Tourism on hand via text messaging to help answer any questions.

I finally finished at 21.50.

A very early start on Wednesday as I headed up to Manx Radio for 5.50am on a cold and wet morning. I received a phone call late last night asking me to do a live interview on the TT Homestay contract, which I declined – not because I was nervous, but because I didn’t want to give any wrong information live on radio – so I agreed to go up to the station as early as possible.

Back home for 7am in order to get changed before heading in to the office for 8.15am, where I had some porridge and answered several e-mails.

Just after 9am I walked over to DED for today’s Department meeting – no political meeting this morning as we went straight into two presentations. The first presentation was on the restructuring of the DED Department and the second presentation was on the latest Social Attitudes Survey, which makes interesting reading.

Once the briefings and Department meeting finished, I then attended two smaller briefings with the DED Minister and the Director of Motorsport with regard to ongoing TT and Festival of Motorcycle issues.

Back to the office briefly before heading down to the Villa Marina with Julie Edge, MHK for the Ballakermeen High School 2017 Prize Day. It was a real privilege to watch the students receiving various awards and accolades for their achievements over the last 12 months.

Unfortunately, we had to leave slightly early in order to get back to Tynwald for two presentations from the Cabinet Office.

Once the presentations finished, I just had a enough time to send a couple of emails and return several missed calls before attending my final meeting of the day. The meeting was on Department Budgets with the Treasury and DED Minister, Political Members and Senior Officers.

I left the office at 17.40 and after tea I started to read through a detailed scrutiny Committee report – finally called it a day at 21.45.

It is fair to say that Thursday was a much slower day, but I still arrived in the office at 8.15am. With no meetings scheduled for the morning, I was able to continue going through the papers for the Tynwald Order Paper, which run into many hundreds of pages. Mid morning a number of MHKs sat down and discussed the items on the Order Paper, and it certainly was an excellent discussion and exchange of views.

At lunchtime we headed up to the Barrool Suite as the Chief Minister briefed Tynwald Members on International Matters, including Brexit.

Once the meeting finished, the rest of the afternoon was again taken up by the Tynwald Order Paper and various smaller meetings and discussions between MHKs.

I left the office at 17.00 and after tea did more work relating to the Tynwald Order Paper. I finally finished at 22.30.

Back in the office for 8.10am on Friday and the first job was to send out a couple of apology letters due to an administrative error earlier in the week. A silly mistake and it shows that you shouldn’t rush things, but it is a balancing act at times……

I then headed North, as the Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee continues to look into the IRIS Scheme.

The Committee was invited to look around Ramsey Regional Sewerage Works, which is the latest Scheme to come online and we also visited the Maughold Regional Scheme, which has been online for a couple of years.

The tour was fascinating – if not a little smelly at times………….

Back to the office at lunchtime before walking to Bar George to have lunch with the Chairman of Manx National Heritage.

Once back at my desk, the rest of the afternoon was spent going through the Tynwald Order Paper, trying to catch up with e-mails and drafting a long letter to a Minister relating to Local Authority Housing Rents – but I think I will leave the rest of that story for another day……..

Left the office at 17.20 and after grabbing some tea, Ellen and I headed into Onchan for some Music and Merriment at the Onchan Methodist Church Hall. It was an excellent night and we raised over £450 for Onchan Live at Home Scheme.

The weekend will be spent on further preparation work on the Tynwald Order Paper.